Leipzig: Barth-Verlag, 1898. 1st Edition. IN RARE ORIGINAL WRAPS, THE 1898 FIRST COMPLETE EDITION OF RONTGEN’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE X-RAY, INCLUSIVE OF ALL 3 PAPERS and housed in a custom cloth box. For this work, Rontgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. “Their importance in surgery, medicine, and metallurgy is well known. Incomparably the most important part of Rontgen's experiments, however, is his discovery of matter in a new form, which has completely revolutionized the study of chemistry and physics” (Printing and the Mind of Man, 380).
“Herald[ing] the age of modern physics and revolutionized diagnostic medicine", the importance of Rontgen’s discovery was quickly understood (Curley, The 100 Most Influential Inventors of All Time, Britannica Guide,128). Laue and the Braggs would go on to use X-rays to show us the atomic structure of crystals. Mosely used them to reconstruct the periodic table of the elements. Becquerel was directly inspired by Rontgen's results to begin an investigation that discovered radio-activity. J. J. Thomson enunciated the electron theory as a result of investigating the nature of X-rays (PMM 380). The X-ray diffraction picture of a DNA molecule, clearly a helix, seen in Rosalind Franklin’s data was Crick and Watson’s inspiration for their DNA model.
In 1894, “Hertz and Lenard had published on the penetrating powers of cathode rays (electrons) and Rontgen thought that there were unsolved problems worth investigation... As a preliminary to viewing the cathode rays on a fluorescent screen, Rontgen completely covered his discharge tube with a black card, and then chanced to notice that such a screen lying on a bench some distance away was glowing brightly. Although others had operated Crookes tubes in laboratories for over thirty years, it was Rontgen who found that X rays are emitted by the part of the glass wall of the tube that is opposite the cathode and that receives the beam of cathode rays. He spent six weeks in absolute concentration, repeating and extending his observations on the properties of the new rays. He found that they travel in straight lines, cannot be refracted or reflected, are not deviated by a magnet, and can travel about two meters in air. He soon discovered the penetrating properties of the rays... The apparent magical nature of the new rays was something of a shock even to Rontgen...
“On 22 December he brought his wife into the laboratory and made an X-ray photograph of her hand. It was no doubt the possibility of seeing living skeletons, thus pandering to man's morbid curiosity, that contributed to the peculiarly rapid worldwide dissemination of the discovery” (Dictionary of Scientific Biography, XI, p. 530).
Of Rontgen’s discovery: "One of the most important advances in the history of scientific development" (Heirs of Hippocrates). “Here, Rontgen unveiled a new form of matter and offered a new revolutionary method for medical diagnosis, being the greatest advance in diagnostic medicine since the invention of the stethoscope" (Norman). "Practically every science was improved by the new technique" (Dibner).
In 1901 the first Nobel Prize in Physics 1901 was awarded to Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen ‘in recognition of the extraordinary services he has rendered by the discovery of the remarkable rays subsequently named after him’ (Nobel Prize Committee).
"About a new kind of rays" was published originally in separate issues of the rare journal Sitzungsberichte der Wurzberger Physik-medic (1895, 1896) before being published, together with "Further Observations", in Annalen der Physik in 1898” [this issue] (DSB).
Dibner, Heralds of Science 162; Garrison-Morton 2683; Norman 1841-1842; See Grolier/Horblit 90; PMM 380. Item #1202
CONDITION & DETAILS: Leipzig: Barth-Verlag. Complete. 8vo. Original printed wrappers. Blind (uncolored) stamp on the front wrap. Repaired tear to the front wrap; spine taped. Housed in red, custom gilt-titled cloth box. See photos. Very rare in fragile original printed wraps.